Winston Raymond Peters (born 11 April 1945) is a New Zealand politician who has served since 2017 as the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was previously Deputy Prime Minister from 1996 to 1998. Peters has led the populist New Zealand First party since its foundation in 1993. He has been a Member of Parliament since 2011, having previously served from 1979 to 1981 and 1984 to 2008.Peters was born in the Northland city of Whangarei. He is of mixed ethnicity, his father being M?ori and his mother being of Scottish descent. Widely known simply as Winston, Peters has had a long and turbulent political career since first entering Parliament following the National Party win of the 1978 general election. Throughout his career, he has called for more focused and restrictive immigration policies. He has advocated benefits for senior citizens, criticised the media and elitism, and has favoured socially conservative policies.
Peters first served as a Cabinet minister when Jim Bolger led the National Party to victory in 1990. He was dismissed from this post in 1991 after criticising his own Governments economic, fiscal and foreign ownership policies. As leader of New Zealand First, he held the balance of power after the 1996 election and formed a coalition with National, securing the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer—the latter position created for Peters. However, the coalition dissolved in 1998 following the replacement of Bolger by Jenny Shipley as Prime Minister.
In 1999 New Zealand First returned to opposition before entering into a government again with the Labour Party in 2005, in which Peters served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On 29 August 2008 he stood down as a minister pending a police investigation into a funding scandal involving Peters and his party.
In the 2008 general election, New Zealand First failed to reach the 5% threshold and Peters did not regain his seat. As a result, neither Peters nor New Zealand First were returned to Parliament. However, in the 2011 general election New Zealand First experienced a resurgence in support, winning 6.8% of the party vote to secure eight seats in Parliament. In the 2014 general election, NZ First gained 11 seats and finished with 8.66%. In the 2017 election, Peters lost his electorate seat of Northland but NZ First won 9 seats overall, with 7.2% of the party vote. Following the election, NZ First again held the balance of power and formed a coalition government with the Labour Party.
Upon the announcement of her pregnancy on 19 January 2018, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that she would temporarily relinquish her duties to Peters, following the birth of her child, for a period of six weeks. Peters became Acting Prime Minister on 21 June 2018, when Ardern went into labour. Ardern returned from her six-week maternity leave on 2 August 2018.